Middle East Trade Initiatives: S. 1121/H.R. 2267 and the Administration's Plan [Updated April 26, 2004]   [open pdf - 520KB]

From the Summary: "On May 9, 2003, the Bush Administration proposed the establishment of a U.S. Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) within a decade (by about 2013). This proposal came a year and a half after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The MEFTA was billed as part of a plan to fight terrorism -- in this case, by supporting the growth of Middle East prosperity and democracy -- through trade. The MEFTA would cover 20 entities in what many refer to as the Middle East/North Africa -- 16 in the Middle East: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, the Gaza Strip/West Bank, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen; and four in North Africa: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. Since the Bush Administration first announced its trade initiative, it has made substantial progress in working with MEFTA entities to develop TIFAs, BITs, and FTAs and progress along the steps outlined above. Since the beginning of 2003: TIFAS have been completed with five countries: Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, bringing the total to 11. Other TIFA partners are Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. BITs have been completed with one country, Jordan, bringing the total to five. Other BIT partners are Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. Finally, bilateral free trade agreements have been implemented with Jordan, Israel, and Morocco. A signed FTA with Bahrain awaits consideration by Congress, which would raise the FTA total to four. In addition, on November 15, 2004, U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick announced the Administration's intent to negotiate FTAs with the United Arab Emirates and Oman, as the 5th and 6th countries to have FTAs with the United States out of the 20 in MEFTA. This report will be updated."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32335
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